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Free to earn less, DOD morale, questioning Boeing (gasp)…

Tuesday, October 14, 2014





► From KING-TV — Pay raise proposal for state employees draws criticism (from Freedom Foundation) — After years of pay cuts, health care cost increases and six years without a cost of living bump, Don Hall says he deserves a raise. “We have suffered long enough,” said Hall, a ranger at Wenatchee Confluence State Park. He blames a recent foreclosure on pay cuts he and his wife, a school bus driver, had to take because of state budget deficits during the recession. But Jami Lund of the conservative think tank The Freedom Foundation says, “There are not resources available just sitting around and waiting to be spent on this.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Tom McCabe’s right-wing-billionaire-funded Freedom Foundation: Fighting for working-class people to be “free” from unions — and pay raises.

► In today’s Olympian — State revenue collections bumped up $14.4 million above forecast in past month — The monthly collections report by forecaster Steven Lerch said the gain in general-fund receipts was 1.2 percent above the Sept. 18 forecast. He also noted job growth continues.

► In today’s Yakima H-R — Rep. Bruce Chandler wants to match budget with reality — He is running unopposed for his ninth term in the state House and he’s now the ranking Republican on the Appropriations Committee, so budget setting is a big part of his time.

► In today’s Oregonian — Oregon Employment Department data breach: more than 851,000 people could be at risk — Cyber-security experts discovered the breach, which targeted a registration system that unemployed Oregonians use for help finding jobs. It stores names, addresses, Social Security numbers and other details typically included in job applications.




► From KPLU — Watch your mailboxes for ballots, Voter Guides — Ballots will soon be arriving in mailboxes in Washington state.

ALSO at The Stand — With ballots in the mail, it’s GOTV time — With 21 days until Election Day and ballots in the mail, volunteers are urgently needed for Labor’s Voice, to help reach out to voters across the state, explain which candidates have earned working families support (and why), and most importantly, to urge them to fill out their ballots and VOTE!




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Machinists Union raises $9,300 for charity (brief) — Machinists’ Union members raised more than $9,300 for charity with their annual Bill Baker Memorial Steel & Wheel SuperShow, a custom car and motorcycle show, at Machinists Union District Lodge 751’s Everett Union Hall on Aug. 9. Proceeds went to Guide Dogs of America. Over the past five years, the union has raised nearly $1.5 million for that charity, including a record $384,000 in 2013.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Survey: State’s nurses uneasy about Ebola preparedness — Early results from a survey of nurses across Washington show widespread concern over the ability of the state’s medical system to safely care for Ebola patients. Of the more than 400 nurses who responded quickly to a survey distributed Friday, nearly 70 percent said they are not as well prepared as they should be to deal with the deadly virus.

wp-ebola-hazmat► In today’s Washington Post — U.S. hospitals not prepared for Ebola threat (by RoseAnn Demoro of National Nurses United) — It is long past time to stop relying on a business-as-usual approach to a virus that has killed thousands in West Africa and has such a frighteningly high mortality rate. There is no margin for error. That means there can be no standard short of optimal in the protective equipment, such as hazmat suits, given to nurses and others who are the first to engage patients with Ebola-like symptoms. All nurses must have access to the same state-of-the-art equipment used by Emory University Hospital staff when they transported Ebola patients from Africa, but too many hospitals are trying to get by on the cheap.

► In today’s NY Times — Questions rise on hospitals’ preparations to deal with Ebola — The challenges could overwhelm hospitals with few resources. At Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, mistakes in treating a patient from Liberia have raised questions about the general level of preparedness in hospitals around the country. Medical experts have begun to suggest that it might be better to transfer patients to designated centers with special expertise in treating Ebola.




► In today’s Washington Post — Morale drops among Defense Department’s civilian workers — Civilian defense employees have grown increasingly dissatisfied with their jobs, and many wouldn’t recommend their organization as a good place to work, according to the federal government’s 2014 personnel survey.

amazon-warehouse► In The Nation — Supreme Court case shows how Amazon legally cheats workers — No other company embodies the mantra “Time is money” quite like Amazon, with its seamless mastery of “just in time” logistics and round-the-clock online retail hours. But inside the cavernous warehouses that ship its goods, there are real people, and their time is not so preciously valued. So the Supreme Court is weighing their right to fair pay against the profits of an e-commerce Goliath.

► At Huffington Post — Jimmy John’s makes low-wage workers sign oppressive ‘non-compete’ agreements — A Jimmy John’s employment agreement includes a “non-competition” clause that’s surprising in its breadth. By signing the covenant, the worker agrees not to work at one of the sandwich chain’s competitors for a period of two years following employment at Jimmy John’s. But the company’s definition of a “competitor” goes far beyond the Subways and Potbellys of the world. It encompasses any business that’s near a Jimmy John’s location and that derives a mere 10% of its revenue from sandwiches.

► In today’s NY Times — A trickle-down effect of Citizens United (editorial) — As long as the Supreme Court and Congress fail to address the distorting influence of money on elections, state and local action is the best remaining defense.

► At Huffington Post — Mitch McConnell: I didn’t earn my million, I inherited them! — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) doesn’t deny that he’s rich. But what stuck in his craw Monday night was his Democratic opponent’s insinuation that he had earned his wealth using his position as senator. An outraged McConnell clarified for debate viewers how he became a millionaire: He and his wife inherited the money.




mcnerney-boeing-grab► In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — Missouri aid for Boeing jobs: A good deal? — Boeing’s deal with the state of Missouri obligates the firm to create at least 2,000 new, good-paying jobs here over 10 years in order to reap untold millions in state subsidies. The dollar amount is secret for now, although the administration of Gov. Jay Nixon says it will reveal the size of the subsidies after final details are worked out with the company. Meanwhile, St. Louis County will abate 50 percent of the real estate and equipment taxes on the expansion planned for Boeing’s composite materials facility in north St. Louis County. The deal abates school and fire district taxes as well. All that government generosity begs the question: Would Boeing add the new jobs if Missouri said no to subsidies?

Critics, including state Sen. John Lamping (R-Ladue) note that subsidies drain money from schools and state services. “What do you tell the guy who doesn’t work for Boeing?” he asks. And Rep. Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City) said new jobs are great news for St. Louis, but he suspects they would have come anyway. “Boeing knows they have a great workforce in St. Louis,” he says. “You can’t recreate that in South Carolina or Texas.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Once upon a time, in a land far away, local newspapers and state legislators — particularly the Republicans! — questioned gigantic corporate subsidies and sought to guarantee some public return for the investment…


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